JASPER, Tenn. — Marion County played a little better defensively — if you want to call it that — than Sequatchie County did in Friday's high school football game at Marion County.
As a result, the Warriors came away with a 52-28 victory over the Indians.
The game marked the return of former Marion County coach Ken Colquette, who's now 0-3 on the field with opposing teams after coming to Jasper twice when he was at Grundy County.
"There was a lot of interest in this game because of Coach Colquette coming back," current Marion coach Mac McCurry said. "Really, it's renewing an old rivalry."
The Indians scored on a fumble return in the second half, but two fumbles by them had a bigger impact. One was returned for a touchdown, and the other came on the ensuing kickoff.
"I thought it would be an up-and-down-the-field game," Colquette said. "When we fumbled and they scored and then we fumbled on the kickoff, after that we folded the tent. Neither one of us plays defense too good. But they played better than we did."
McCurry credited defensive coordinator Joe Dan Gudger, who played for Colquette at Marion County, for some halftime adjustments.
Marion County had the game's first possession, which amounted to two Blake Zeman runs. The first covered 3 yards. The second went for 77 and a touchdown. Sequatchie County's Justin Parsons blocked the extra point, leaving it 6-0.
The Indians answered with a seven-play, 60-yard drive that culminated with Dylan Harvey connecting with Hayden Hicks for a 4-yard score. The first of Christian Payne's four extra points put Sequatchie on top.
Then before the first quarter ended, the teams scored touchdowns within 18 seconds of each other. Marion's was a 48-yard pass from Logan Walters to Clay O'Shields. Sequatchie's was a 55-yard burst up the middle by Blake Cates at the 3:50 mark.
Things slowed in the second quarter, primarily thanks to a 12-play, 73 yard march by the Warriors that ended with Zeman's 3-yard touchdown run 5:10 before halftime. The longest play was their only pass in the possession -- an 18-yard pickup on a screen to Zeman on third-and-10 from the Indians' 38.
But most of Zeman's damage was on the ground, where he piled up 311 yards and four touchdowns on 19 carries. Riley added 197 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries.
"When we're running the ball and getting that many yards," McCurry said, "we're going to milk it."
Contact Kelley Smiddie at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6653. Follow him at twitter.com/KelleySmiddie.
Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or email@example.com.